Delays in the Boeing Dreamliner 787 continue to propel major ripples throughout the airplane’s supply chain.
The latest pain came yesterday when titanium supplier RTI International of Pittsburgh announced an operating loss for the fourth quarter of $86.9 million versus operating income of $5.4 million for the same period in 2008.
CEO Dawne S. Hickton, commented: “In addition to the global economic upheaval, our commercial aerospace customers experienced extended program delays, resulting in significantly reduced current need for titanium mill products and fabricated parts. These issues had a profound adverse impact in the year on our Fabrication Group, primarily related to the 787 Dreamliner.” Most affected are the company’s extrusion facility in Houston and machining unit outside Montreal.
In addition, Airbus’ challenges with the A400 military transport and the A380 contributed to RTI’s Titanium Group operating at less than 50 percent capacity. Airbus has advised RTI that during 2010 it will require less than half of its 5 million pound contract minimum. RTI’s mill product shipments for the fourth quarter were 2.2 million pounds at an average realized price of $20.86 per pound, compared to mill product shipments of 3.0 million pounds in the fourth quarter of 2008 at an average realized price of $22.04 per pound.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France cycling champion Greg LeMond, is the first to license a new carbon fiber production method invented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that's faster, cheaper, and greener.
This month will mark the launch of the SpeedFoiler, a super-fast, ultra-lightweight foiling catamaran that can fly short distances over water faster than other foiling designs, in part because of its carbon composite materials.
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